This is a very interesting Challenge and I have to be in. I am a Unity Developer with the main focus on technical art and I try to benefit from my knowledge in that area with my project. Also making a big city is something I had to wrap my head around for a while and this sounds like a great learning project.
At this point I am not sure if I will manage to finish it or if it will even run at decent framerate, but that is what this challenge is about to push the boundaries of myself. And at least I got a nice scene for future tests.
Day 1, 12. Dec. 2017
As I went through the concept art I drafted some ideas in my head and pretty early knew that I want to make a big city in some way. As I also like the deserted and despotic concepts I thought about to wrap the whole city into a giant dome right in a desert next to slum like villages. It is a secondary goal.
My plan is to make a big city with many individual buildings but also focus on render performance so that the scene eventually works in VR. I am going to use a custom shader that can render different buildings in one material taking advantage of vertex color for tint and masking. My Shader can also handle light in the windows in darkness as I plan to show different times of daytime in the scene.
A bunch of buildings will be combined in one mesh to achieve that kind of complexity. Of course nearby objects will have more details and will be separated.
Highest Building: 460m
Dome height: ~500m
Lakeside width: 1.5km, ~1mile
Today I actually decided to take the concept art above as a reference. That mostly white architecture combined with bluish and greenish colors is a typical futuristic scenario. That also is a great contrast to the desertificated environment. The city design will be based on flying vehicles and drones and on ground there are mostly pedestrian paths and just some automated driving vehicles.
I started to model a few buildings. The great thing is that at the level of detail I need them they are easy to model. My technique relies mostly on repetitive textures. So each building consists of just a few faces. Here I cannot make use of the AssetStore as it is a special setting and for the requirements I have the models have to be made from scratch.
Then I also started to blockout the pond and the basic shapes. Tomorrow I shall be able to show first screenshots. I will think about how I actually place the buildings (by hand or automatically) and then make a rendering and performance test for all the geometry I have. At least by Friday I will specify possible camera positions and the area I have to model at which detail. Otherwise this won’t get finished in time. Early blockout and prototyping has proven to be important in recent projects.
I already sketched the video in my head. I am not completely sure for the details in the city but the dome aspect is fixed.
I will continue later on the blockout but so far I managed to make a few more buildings, about 20 in total. Some of them are already UVd and got vertex Colors for later use. I may need up to 20 more buildings which will be enough for the whole background. I can rotate and scale them individually. The main buildings will be placed by hand but if I do that for all the others or make a script that helps me is not clear now. So here is an example of the current scene. I think it already fits nicely with the concept. This is not yet Unity btw. So far I only had up to 2 hours a day but tomorrow is my last day at work for this year so I can make better progress from then.